Rachel Roden - Director of Agility Bookkeeping Ltd
I started my journey as a self-employed bookkeeper in 2009 just after celebrating my 50th birthday. My ambition was to provide help to sole traders who were struggling to manage their daily bookkeeping and payroll, whilst making “enough to live on”. As usual, I did the paper forecast but reality was very different. The challenges of getting those first clients were often discouraging – and my biggest fear is failure.
I’m not a naturally confident person and had limited bookkeeping experience – but what I lacked in experience I made up for in sheer determination to get the job done.
In the first few years I scraped by with less than £10K turnover and very little to show for my efforts.
I started going to business networking groups and the advice and encouragement of other small business owners was invaluable. It was at one such group I met Ewan Menzies who was to become my business advisor and a vital help as I struggled to make the move to a more serious business proposition.
With Ewan’s help I registered as a Limited company and started getting small, limited companies rather than sole traders. Many of these were sole directors and struggled with day-to-day paperwork – and were in a mess.
Now I have reached my initial goal of over £100k/year turnover and am pushing forward with my plan. I still work over 40 hours a week – it’s definitely not an easy road but I love the buzz I get from seeing a client’s records tidy and providing them with the information they need.
What keeps me going – I would say 2 things:-
1. My genuine desire to help business owners, get them out of the paperwork mire and show them how their accounts are an essential tool in making business decisions.
2. Sheer determination – failure is not an option. I get support when I need it from my husband and my team (who are amazing).
It’s not an easy or quick path to success - make sure you are prepared financially and mentally for the challenge. There will be days when you wonder why on earth you are bothering, when financial rewards are small and expenses escalating. You will need determination to stick it out – and to deal with those jobs that get difficult and find a way through.
Make sure you have a good support network – friends, family and professionally.
Get yourself a mentor or business advisor who can objectively help and advise and set you challenges.